Talkeetna Flight Routes
Southeast Fork Kahiltna (ka-hilt-na) Glacier: This can be a very high volume route during May and June. Aircraft are leaving Talkeetna and flying the most direct route to "base camp" on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Watch for "One Shot Gap", minimum altitude 8500 ft MSL, listen, stay right, watch diligently for opposite direction traffic. Listen for reports of downdrafts and turbulence. Don't get caught up glacier with no way out.
Southeast Fork Kahiltna (the long way): Local pilots will be using this route when the direct route is weathered in. Listen for PIREPs on the CTAF frequency and follow reporting point procedures. If you are new to the area, and this route is being used, it is recommended you leave the mountain area as the weather can change very quickly.
Around the Mountain/Kantishna (Kan-tish-na): This route requires good VFR weather and an aircraft that can climb to 12,000 ft MSL. Ask for PIREPs, climb early and stay high until you have crossed back to your original side. You should not cross from one side of the Alaska Range to the other unless you can verify good weather on the other side. Position reports should include "around the mountain clockwise" if applicable. Air tour traffic most frequently flies in a clockwise direction. Please remember to change frequency to 122.90 (airport CTAF) when approaching Kantishna.
Ruth Glacier/Mountain House: This is the most popular scenic flight route. Ski equipped aircraft land and takeoff from the ski strip at the "Mountain House" in the Ruth Amphitheater. Stay to the right in the "Great Gorge. Listen for aircraft entering from "The Moose's Tooth" (east of the gorge), and "747 Pass" (west of the gorge). Mountain House overflights should remain at or above 7500 feet MSL to avoid conflict with landing traffic.
Pika (pie-ka) Glacier: This is the heart of "Little Switzerland", bordered by the Kahiltna Glacier to the west, the Kanikula (Kan-i-ku-la) Glacier to the east, and the Dutch Hills to the south. This area is very popular with rock climbing enthusiasts. Aircraft may enter and depart via the Kahiltna Glacier or Dutch Hills.
Coffee Glacier: ERA helicopters based at the Chulitna River and Talkeetna heliports, will fly in the Coffee Glacier area. This traffic generally merges with the Ruth Glacier traffic in the Ruth Gorge, prior to returning to a heliport.
DON'T FORGET: LIGHTS ON, STAY ABOVE LANDING AREAS, ANNOUNCE YOUR INTENTIONS /POSITION AND MONITOR THE CTAF.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.